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  • June 2007
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Fort Bridger, Wyoming.

It has finally happened.  Thirty something years after being born, I have officially become my father. 

Driving down I-80 on what is an 8 hour drive (without pit stops) from Utah to Colorado, I saw a sign on the side of the road:  “Historical Site Ahead.  Fort Bridger”.  I had no idea who or what Fort Bridger was, but it was as if the car drove itself to the exit ramp and right up to the place.  I couldn’t wait to see what it was about!

I looked in the rearview mirror and saw my kids faces questioning what we were doing.  And I remembered all those years ago when my Dad drove my mom, brother & sisters around New England, stopping at hundreds of historical sites that are scattered all around that part of the country.  It seemed like every weekend was reserved for another trip to a new battleground/antique store/historical place. I swore then, that I wouldn’t go to another historical place because it was so boring.  Of course, I was a teenager, and everything was so boring at that time.

By the time I entered college, all my Dad’s excursions had worked under my skin and in a twist of irony I graduated with an American Studies major.  All history, all the time.  I look back at the attitude I gave my Dad…the eye rolls, the sighs, the “please, not AGAIN’s” and am grateful that he turned a blind ear to my complaints and followed his historical passion all over the country with me in tow. 

And now, here I was at a historical Fort with my own kids. I unloaded them from our packed car and before my daughter could give me an eyeroll of her own said, “Let’s go exploring!  Everyone, run to your favorite building!”  and off we went.  They all stopped by the big wagon.

And then by the tiny little schoolhouse.

I liked the big ice house in the background (it reminds me of Little House on the Prairie!)

It’s only been since getting home that we’ve been able to put any significance to the place…we came across Jim Bridger in one of the mountain man library books we happened upon, and The Golfer put two and two together.  Travel really is the best form of experiential learning, and I love seeing connections form that weren’t there before. We realized that there is a lot of interesting things to know about it….Oregon Trail, mountain men, The Frontier,  and the Army.

I’m just sorry we missed this: Fort Bridger Rendezvous ! 

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